Season Preview: The Greater Thumb West Conference
Unionville-Sebewaing (USA) looks to yet again reign atop of the Greater Thumb West Conference (GTW). In a recent coaches poll, the Lady Patriots look to be the unanimous pick to sit at number one at the end of this coming…
Unionville-Sebewaing (USA) looks to yet again reign atop of the Greater Thumb West Conference (GTW). In a recent coaches poll, the Lady Patriots look to be the unanimous pick to sit at number one at the end of this coming conference season. To the league of coaches, the season is looking to be pretty typical as it has to years past even with the new addition of Caro.
- USA (6) 60 points
- Reese (1) 50 points
- Cass City 44 points
- Caro 36 points
- EPBP Lakers 22 points
- Bad Axe 16 points
- Vassar 8 points
Unionville-Sebewaing (USA) Patriots
As mentioned, the Lady Pats of USA are looking to be the team to beat in the GTW. Although losing Madonna University bound libero, Katie Engelhart and Northland College bound middle, Mya Atkari. The reigning conference champs return the Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) bound middle blocker (MB) and setter combo of Rylee Zimmer, as well as outside hitter (OH) Allyson Kemp. Zimmer, Preseason All-Thumb Player of the Year, led the Patriots last season to a MHSAA Quarter-Final game. She also was the teams kills and blocks leader with 808 kills and 137 blocks. Kemp, a junior outside hitter, comes back to the squad with the most time on varsity behind Zimmer and also followed Rylee in kills last season. With this duo combination and growing supporting cast, USA is looking for yet another conference title and potentially a deep post-season tournament run.
The Rockets of Reese are pegged to follow the Pats again this season. Last season, the team would end up third in the conference behind USA and Cass City. Reese would also have their 2017 season ended by USA in a Regional Semi-Final match. The Rockets are led by another SVSU bound athlete in 6-rotation OH Madison Thompson. Thompson going into her senior campaign has led this team to a conference title and two district titles in her past three outings. In her most recent season, she took her leadership role to new heights while she clocked in 600+ kills. Behind her arm and fresh faces, Reese looks to challenge the reigning champs.
Cass City Red Hawks
With a loss of one of the best classes to come through the Cass City volleyball program, the Hawks still look to be in the mix for the top of the GTW. Last season, the Hawks would see an undefeated first half of the conference season to only drop a five-setter to each USA and Reese. This losing the title in the process. This season the Hawks will have more of an underdog role. While being led by OH Kacey Haire and new libero Kelly Ziegler. Haire ranked second on the team last season in kills with 430 kills. Ziegler in only a limited defensive role last season brought up 200 digs. The two look to lead a young and inexperienced Cass City squad this season.
Newest addition to the GTW, the Caro Tigers looks to make an immediate impact on the conference scene, moving from the Tri-Valley East Conference (TVC-E) last season. The Tigers graduate some heavy weights though with Grand Valley State bound MB Cameryn Brown and Lake Michigan College bound OH Mckenzie Smith. The younger faces of this program look to be able to contend with the GTW though. Going against the likes of North Branch and Essexville Garber give the returning players the experience to contend with powerhouse programs.
Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Lakers
Looking to be a dark horse this season is going to be the Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port (EPBP) Lakers. Coming off a couple of lackluster seasons, the Lakers look to cause some upsets this season under new head coach Renee Repkie. The squad returns first team all-GTW 6-rotation MB, Abi Schuette and second team Libero, Tiffany White. The duo look to lead the Lady Lakers in new found success this season.
Bad Axe Hatchets
An era in Bad Axe volleyball ended last year when long time coach Mindy Breault retired. Handing the coaching duties off to Chrissy Smith. In the new era of Bad Axe volleyball, Smith looks to bring the Hatchet program back on the upswing after a down season last season.
In yet another program with new sights under new coaching is the Vassar Vulcans with new coach, Hailey Bellamy. The Vulcans hope to improve on their 0-10 2017 season.